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Showing posts from April, 2012

haiku commentary: George Swede

wildflowers I cannot name most of me
George Swede[1]

The opening line, composed of a single word, slows me down with its first two long syllables. And that pace is perfect for the contemplation woven through this economical haiku.
The pivot line is structurally satisfying – it rocks me in (wildflowers/I cannot name) and out (I cannot name/most of me) of the haiku – as is the balance of 3/4/3 syllables. But these formal characteristic serve the ideas behind the haiku too.
The first two lines, taken as a couplet, describe a concrete experience that’s probably common to all of us: a lack of knowledge or names forgotten as we walk through the countryside. The haiku instantly involves me, invites me to share the moment.
The 2nd and 3rd lines present a different kind of couplet: a personal reflection that is both concrete and abstract. How many of us could recite the litany of parts that make up our own complex organism? And how many of us are convinced that we truly know and understand ourselves…